How to Create a Backup Disk

By Jason Artman

A good backup strategy is crucial for making sure that your data is protected. However, backing up all of the data on a computer can require a great deal of space, when the most important files might fit on a single CD or DVD. Creating a backup disk requires planning, but once a system is established, updating the disk can take just a few minutes per week.

Step 1

Create a new folder called "Backup." Create the folder on your external hard drive if you have one. If not, put it on the Windows desktop. Open this folder. This will be a convenient location for you to store the files that will eventually be put on your blank CD or DVD.

Step 2

Open Microsoft Outlook. Click "File," then click "Import and Export." Click "Export to a file." Click "Personal Folder File (PST)." Click "Personal Folders," and check the box labeled "Include Subfolders." Click "Next." Click the "Browse" button, then browse to the Backup folder. Click "Finish." Your emails are now backed up. If you use webmail rather than an email client, skip this step. Note that other email clients may have slightly different menu options.

Step 3

Create a new folder inside the backup folder. Name it "Pictures." Copy all of your saved pictures to this folder.

Step 4

Create another new folder, naming it "Music." Copy all of your MP3 and other audio files to this folder. Do the same for any home videos that are saved on your computer. If your music and video collections are too large to fit on a CD or DVD, you may wish to skip this step and back these files up directly to an external hard drive instead.

Step 5

Click the "Start" button, then click "Documents." Copy everything in the Documents folder to the Backup folder. You should now have copies of all of your emails, music, videos, pictures and documents in the Backup folder.

Step 6

Burn the contents of the Backup folder to a CD or DVD. Write the date on this disc. If your Backup folder is located on an external hard drive, save it. Having two copies of each backed up file will help to ensure that it cannot be lost.

Step 7

Repeat this process at least once every week to ensure that you will be able to restore from a recent backup disk if the contents of your hard drive are ever lost.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although a complete backup of all of the data on your computer requires more storage space than the method outlined in this article, it is also a more comprehensive solution that leaves less room for error. If you choose to create a backup disk rather than backing up the entire hard drive, take a few minutes to consider whether you have any important files that might not have been outlined in this article. Make sure that those files are copied to your Backup folder before burning the CD or DVD.